04.30.2010 0

Poor Judgment

  • On: 05/06/2010 06:31:33
  • In: Appointments
  • Poor Judgment

    By Rebekah Rast

    On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. This event has been part of America’s history since 1775, signed into law by Harry S. Truman in 1952, and amended in 1988 to being the first Thursday of May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.

    What has changed to cause this historic event and law to be amidst so much controversy now?
    Looking into her past, Judge Crabb was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in 1979 by Jimmy Carter. Because of her distorted view of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the National Day of Prayer, which encourages prayer from all religions, is under attack.

    Clearly, even obscure judicial appointments have consequences.

    Those who are appointed and confirmed now may soon alter America’s most valued and fundamental laws years from now.

    Americans for Limited Government (ALG) appointments watch project looks into a few Barack Obama-appointed judicial nominees to see what kind of rulings America can expect 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

    Robert Chatigny is an Obama nominee to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals – the next highest court behind the Supreme Court. In 1995, as a Federal Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Chatigny presided over the case of confessed serial killer Michael Ross (“roadside strangler”). After Ross instructed his lawyer to stop appealing his scheduled execution, Chatigny threatened to seek the disbarment of Ross’ attorney and forced him to claim that Ross was too incompetent to accept his death sentence. Ross killed eight women, raping seven of them (at least six of these victims were teenagers)—and Chatigny felt, “he should have never been convicted. Or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death because his sexual sadism, which… is clearly a mitigating factor,” he said at the time.

    That only scrapes the surface. Chatigny once ruled a Connecticut “Megan’s Law,” which created the sex-offender registry, to be illegal. He also is known for doling out lighter sentences for sex crimes than the federal sentencing guidelines prescribe.

    And now Obama has put this guy up for a promotion.

    Another Obama judicial nominee is Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As previously reported by ALG, no other court nominee so closely reflects the judicial philosophy of Obama as Liu. Aside from obstructing a full review of his record by neglecting to producing 117 of the most controversial items asked for by the Senate Judiciary Committee until about a week before his hearing, Liu’s views on the law and the proper role of government are enough reasons of why he must be rejected. Liu has suggested words like “ ’free enterprise,’ ‘private ownership of property,’ and ‘limited government’ ” are “code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.” Liu’s writings also indicate that he would be supportive of the legality of providing reparations payments to correct past racial injustices.

    “Liu’s judicial philosophy that judges should render decisions based on societal consensus at a given moment rather than foundational principles is incredibly dangerous,” says Bill Wilson, President of ALG. “He shouldn’t be on any court, especially not a court of appeals.”

    After finally producing all his documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he told them that, “Whatever I’ve written in books and articles would have no bearing on my role as a judge.” Does that make you feel better about him? It shouldn’t. His appointment may be a test as to how radical Obama’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee can be and still be confirmed by the Senate.

    Appointing a judge to the Circuit Court of Appeals is a lifetime appointment. The people served by these courts will have to deal with the rulings of these judges for as long as the judges live.

    Last November, Judge David Hamilton, nominated by Obama and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, took his seat at the bench of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was previously a federal trial court judge in Indiana. During his time as a federal trial court judge, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the very court to which he now belongs, overturned a series of his rulings that blocked enforcement of an Indiana law requiring informed consent for abortions.

    But this isn’t the first time the appellate court was forced to correct Hamilton’s radical decisions. In 2007, the appeals court overturned a case in which Hamilton ruled that it was a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause for the Indiana House of Representatives to call upon the name of Jesus Christ during prayer, yet he ruled it does not violate the Constitution to call upon the name of Allah. Anyone can see this is a clear double standard and is not of sound reasoning. Now appointed to the appellate court, he is granted a lifetime of continuing to make these unjust rulings.

    It is clear these are the types of justices favored by Obama. Those who are lenient on the bad guys and focused on their own interpretations of the Constitution (as long as they complement those positions held by Obama) are sought after by this Administration. Those who thought the judicial system was a safeguard of unbiased justices are being proved wrong and should be worried. The ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional is only the beginning.

    Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to ALG News Bureau.

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